Don Strawn earned the first feather in his cowboy hat Saturday, after a 38-man selection committee named him the 2013 Comanche Gap Medicine Man.
Past award recipients add a feather for every year they participate in the event.
In a secret voting process, 23 former Medicine Men and a “tribal council” deliberated for 45 minutes before choosing Strawn, said 1996 recipient Joe Maines.
This year marks the 34th year a Medicine Man has been selected. Bill Alford founded the event to honor selfless local residents who support their community and protect nature, Maines said.
Strawn tends a garden and shares food with neighbors, family members and friends, Maines said. While he hasn’t eaten Strawn’s produce, Maines said Strawn made him homemade pecan-infused chocolate candy, despite Strawn’s chocolate allergy.
A Florence resident, Strawn has been a barber for 51 years. Of his job, he said: “It beats working on a cotton patch.”
Maines said Strawn is a notorious joker, and Strawn proved the point recently at his Harker Heights barber shop on Veterans Memorial Boulevard.
“I told my friend here if he took his socks off, all those buzzards outside would go away,” Strawn said.
A barbecuer, Strawn said he has “cooked quite a few.”
“Me and another man cooked about 750 pounds of brisket once.”
Strawn has been gardening since he was a kid.
“If we didn’t have that garden, we’d be in bad shape,” he said. “We didn’t have electricity.”
Along with his produce, Strawn, 75, gives free haircuts to those in need, going to hospitals, nursing homes and customers’ houses.
In his spare time, Strawn said he likes visiting his grandchildren, hunting and fishing. He feels relaxed when he’s fishing, he said.
“I’ve never met a man that fished and hunted that I didn’t like.”